6th Grade Exploratory Offerings

Elective Description Sheet


Language Arts 6: Year-Long - Level: Advanced

Sixth-grade students experience English language arts through exploration of communication and author’s craft. This emphasis allows students to study those structures (systems) and styles (communication) that authors use to communicate ideas about the world. As such, students read extensively from a variety of genres, including fiction, narrative nonfiction, nonfiction, and poetry and transfer what they learn about those genres to their own writing and speaking. Students write for a variety of audiences and purposes, using narrative and expository forms. Additional emphasis is placed on continuing to build comprehension strategies, understanding Latin roots for vocabulary development, and using correct punctuation and grammar. A focus on systems reinforces students’ developmental processes in word study and fluency and their continued growth as readers and writers. Each grade also uses a second concept as a focusing lens through which students gain deeper understanding of elements of language and literature. Additionally, courses are designed to incorporate a balanced literacy diet that includes the components of fluency, word study, comprehension, and writing.

Math 6: Year-Long - Levels: Advanced and Honors

Students in the middle grades use problem solving, mathematical communication, mathematical reasoning, connections, and representations to integrate understanding within this strand and across all the strands. Students in the middle grades focus on mastering rational numbers. Rational numbers play a critical role in the development of proportional reasoning and advanced mathematical thinking. The study of rational numbers builds on the understanding of whole numbers, fractions, and decimals developed by students in the elementary grades. Proportional reasoning is the key to making connections to most middle school mathematics topics. Students develop an understanding of integers and rational numbers by using concrete, pictorial, and abstract representations. They learn how to use equivalent representations of fractions, decimals, and percents and recognize the advantages and disadvantages of each type of representation. Flexible thinking about rational-number representations is encouraged when students solve problems. Students develop an understanding of the properties of operations on real numbers through experiences with rational numbers and by applying the order of operations. Students use a variety of concrete, pictorial, and abstract representations to develop proportional reasoning skills. Ratios and proportions are a major focus of mathematics learning in the middle grades.

Traditional Math Pathways in Middle School: Please note, these are just the three traditional pathways. There is flexibility for movement in both 7th and 8th grade year to move up a level or down a level. Starting in a math course in 6th grade in no way means your child will not have the ability to move.

6th Grade Year
7th Grade Year
8th Grade Year
9th Grade @ AHS
Math 6 Advanced Math 7 Advanced Math 8 with Pre-Algebra Algebra I
Math 6 Advanced Math 7 Advanced Algebra I Geometry
Math 6 Honors Algebra I Geometry Algebra II



Science 6: Half-Year

Sixth grade students focus on data analysis and experimentation in their science classes. They learn precise methods for testing the validity of their predictions and conclusions. Students study energy sources, transformations and uses, with emphasis on the role solar energy plays in driving most natural processes. They study basic chemistry such as the structure of the atom, elements and compounds and chemical formulas. Students learn about the properties of water, the natural and human interactions that affect watershed systems and the structure and dynamics of the Earth's atmosphere. They also study the solar system and natural resource management, particularly as it relates to public policy.

History 6: Half-Year

Students use skills of historical and geographical analysis to explore the early history of the United States and understand ideas and events that strengthened the Union. The standards for this course relate to the history of the United States from pre-Columbian times until 1877. Students continue to learn fundamental concepts in civics, economics and geography as they study U.S. history in chronological sequence and learn about change and continuity in our history. They study documents and speeches that laid the foundation of American ideals and institutions, and examine the everyday life of people at different times in the country’s history through the use of primary and secondary source documents. The study of history emphasizes the intellectual skills required for responsible citizenship.

6th Grade Year-Long Exploratory Courses:

AVID 6 -  AVID is a nationally recognized program for students who have the desire to achieve in rigorous, college-preparatory courses., but may currently be underachieving. The course’s focus is on writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization, and reading across disciplines. The AVID elective is a yearlong elective that provides students with academic support and motivational, team-building activities.

Band 6 - Students have an opportunity to start on flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, french horn, euphonium, tuba, or concert percussion. Classes are focused on beginners learning the necessary skills needed to succeed at a wind or percussion instrument. We will focus on performance fundamentals and music reading in the first year. 

Chorus 6 - Students have the opportunity to participate in chorus. Choral students study and perform a variety of music genres. Students will also be introduced to basic music theory and musicianship. 

Drama 6 - Drama students develop a variety of improvisational and more formal acting skills. Students learn the fundamentals of stage design and presence, performing selected dramatic works as a troupe. Emphasis is placed on gaining comfort in a variety of performance styles while building confidence in public communication skills.

Introduction to French - Instruction will engage students in learning to understand and speak the French language through the use of body language, visual aids, and student-created characters and stories.  The teacher uses mainly story-based activities to bring language to life.  Through songs, web-based programs, and class activities, the students will hear French as spoken in a variety of countries and will begin to explore the diverse cultures of the Francophone speaking worlds.

Introduction to Spanish - Instruction will engage students in learning to understand and speak the Spanish language through the use of body language, visual aids, and student-created characters and stories.  The teacher uses mainly story-based activities to bring language to life.  Through songs, web-based programs, and class activities, the students will hear Spanish as spoken in a variety of countries and will begin to explore the diverse cultures of the Spanish speaking worlds.

Orchestra 6 - Students will begin the study and performance of a string instrument of their choice. Instruction will include basic music competencies such as note reading, rhythm, instrument position and posture, and tone and intonation. 

The 6th Grade Wheel: All 6th grade students will be enrolled in a trimester-based (12 week) exploratory rotation. These courses include...

Art 6 - In our art exploratory program, sixth-grade students use the elements of art and principles of design as the basis for a study of both abstraction and realism in representational art. Creating realistic drawings from observation, fantasy-based art, using hand-building techniques to make ceramic sculptures, painting color studies, and using a one-point perspective are examples of activities and projects. Sixth-graders also study art historical references as it relates to examining how their own art can be used as a means of expression.

Computer Literacy - Students gain a basic knowledge of word processing, and  graphics applications as they apply in a work setting. Specific skills in each area include composing, formatting and editing basic business documents; and using clip art, drawing tools, animations, and transitions for graphics presentations.  Students will also learn to navigate online platforms and web based sites for personal safety and evaluate information for bias in research.

Creative Design - This is an introductory technology course. This class will introduce students to problem-solving through the design process, and then apply that process to beginning computer coding, basic electronics and circuitry, and computer-aided design (CAD). The maker-style format of this class allows students with different comfort-levels to use technology to grow their skills at their own pace.